Refugee Stories: Life-threatening sea journeys

War has forced
millions
to flee their homes

Tens of thousands
risk death
by taking to the sea

Hosein’s Story, Greece

Their boat heading for Greece sunk at high seas. Hosein’s mother and sister are missing. “I am sure they are alive. I will not abandon the search….”

Being human

Photojournalist Darrin Zammit Lupi writes about his experience in covering boat arrivals to Malta in 2014…

Indonesia : Saransika’s Journey

Indonesia : Saransika’s  Journey

  Length: 2:51 Views: 2

Ahmed’s Story, Syria

Journalist Boglarka Balogh tells how Ahmed lost eight members of his family at sea, when their boat sank with hundreds of Syrian refugees on board…

LEARN MORE
Find out more about UNHCR’s Global Initiative on Protection at Sea and
the High Commissioner’s Dialogue 2014

Najaf’s Story, Indonesia

“My daughter and son-in-law were in Australia. From Indonesia, they had sailed for 15 days…”

Hamid’s Story, Greece

“I was just 17 when I came once more close to dying, this time in my attempt to cross to Samos on a boat from Turkey, along with four more Afghans…”

Kirsti Siirala. From Finland to Sweden

February 1944. I was two years old, and it was the second time that I crossed the unsafe Baltic Sea to Stockholm, on a boat crowded with Finnish war children…

Mouhamad’s Journey, Greece

“At 2:30 in the morning, the engine suddenly stopped. The deadly silence around us was creating a funeral atmosphere… “

Shookrullah Alizadah’s story, from Afghanistan to Sweden

We drank sea water to survive. Then, in the middle of the sea the boat’s GPS broke down…

Marwan’s Story, Greece

Despite losing his right arm and left eye from a shell explosion, Marwan swam to Greece in order to apply for asylum and get proper medical care.

It was a nightmare that you cannot wake up from, and it will never leave me

I looked around and all I saw was the open sea. At that moment, I feared for my life. I had no air to breathe because the place was overcrowded, my legs started to feel numb from the way I was sitting. We had neither food nor water…

Jihan’s Story, Greece

Jihan, her husband and two sons from Syria boarded a boat with 40 others. They hoped the journey would take eight hours. There was no guarantee they would make it alive…

Italy: Haunted by a Sinking Ship

Italy: Haunted by a Sinking Ship

  Length: 2:53 Views: 1,767

Carina Hoang. Former Vietnamese refugee and award winning author

Carina escaped Vietnam on a wooden boat with her two siblings and 370 other people. She endured violent storms, pirate raids,….

Mahmoud in Egypt

Mahmoud in Egypt

  Length: 3:10 Views: 4,546

Ahmet’s Story, Cyprus

“I will think about my options, but I’m certainly not going at sea again. I left for the future of my kids; I’m not going to die with them in the sea. Life is not over.”

Aziz’s Story, Greece

“During that journey, I lost my most valuable possession: my father’s ring which was the only thing I had to remind me of him…”

Italy: Desperate Rescue at Sea

Italy: Desperate Rescue at Sea

  Length: 4:07 Views: 23,107

Hussein’s Story, Greece

Hussein’s uncommon courage and perseverance kept him moving forward and taking enormous risks to reach a better life, he refused to sink.

Minara’s Story, Myanmar

Journalist Kristy Siegfried tells how Minara paid for their dangerous passage with her wedding ring…

Malaysia: Escape to Hardship

Malaysia: Escape to Hardship

  Length: 3:00 Views: 16

Sahara’s story, Slovakia

We walked all the way to the shores of Djibouti where we took a boat through the Arabian Sea to Yemen. I almost lost hope after the engine of the boat had broken down…

Yacoub’s Story, Bangladesh

If Yacoub is lucky, he will survive the dangerous journey and find a low-paying job in the informal sector in Malaysia, from where he can send remittances back to his family…

1 family torn apart by war is too many

Learn more about our work with refugees at UNHCR.org